Sunday, October 2, 2011

1/3 of the Way There and My Fear of Apples

Completely useless
Words can’t even describe how incredibly happy I am to announce that I have paid off 1/3 of my debt in under a year! I started this debt repayment journey on October 21, 2010 and here I am, less than a year into it, and ahead of my goal! It won’t be long before I have my MasterCard completely paid off and I will save so much money on interest! Can you believe that I still pay $70 per month in interest just on my credit card? I don’t know why I ever let it get to this point in the first place. The thing is that we all use credit cards, but we don’t all use them in a smart way. If you are a smart credit card user, you make a payment the same day that you buy something and you get a card that does 1% cash back. You can actually make money off of the credit cards. You might be thinking, big deal, what’s a measly 1%, but the reality is that when you take 1% for every $1,500 that you spend, that $15 in your bank account! It’s like getting paid to shop and it’s freaking wonderful. I plan on doing something like that once I have my MasterCard banished into the fires of credit hell because right now I am getting those super useless Airmiles, which if you don’t have thousands of, they’re pretty pointless. So yeah, cash back or some kind of actually good rewards program.

Now enough with that ranting about plans when my credit card will be paid off (which is only a few more months away) and on to my challenge! As you heard from my last post, I started a 30 day challenge to not buy any food outside of the grocery store (including coffee, snacks, poutine) and make one gourmet meal per week. Not to mention I also have to do 5 yoga practices per week and on the other 2 days, I have to do a 10 minute meditation. This challenge started on Wednesday and the results have been completely successful so far! Admittedly, since most people know that I am doing this challenge, they have been extra supportive and not pushing me to eat out. I’ve also had two lovely ladies buy me coffee (from Starbucks no less) when I was looking a little worse for wear. It’s amazing how something as simple as a cup of coffee can really brighten your day!

My worst nightmare
This challenge has proved to be really, well, challenging at times though. There are moments when I come home and really just want to order a pizza, or the other morning I was so tired and I forgot to make myself coffee before I went to the yoga studio every coffee shop seemed to call out to me, enter me John, come inside me and give me your money, but I didn’t give into their seductions. An added challenge for me was when I went and made a purchase for the yoga studio at the local farmers’ market. There were lots of delicious baked treats there that I was so ready to whip my wallet out for, but that wasn’t the real challenge. The biggest challenge was what I had to purchase – apples. Now, you’re thinking, oh yeah, apples are in season right now and they are so delicious – WRONG. Those of you, who know me well, know that I have a hatred and borderline phobia of raw apples. I don’t know what it is, but the (I’m getting anxious just typing this) feeling of peeled raw apples and the sound and texture of them makes me really uncomfortable. I have gotten A LOT better over the years, but buying those apples was the first time I had purchased apples in well over a decade. I’m serious when I say I really hate them. I love apple juice, and anything involving cooked apples, but if that apple is raw (even if it’s a caramel apple) I cannot handle it.

Side tangent – once I went to my friend Maya’s farm to stay there for a weekend and I helped them pick a whole whack of apples; this is something that I did often when I was a kid and I think it has something to do with why I hate them so much now. I hate climbing to heights, and it makes my palms sweat when I think about climbing and potentially falling, so I think that has somehow managed to tie itself to raw apples. Anyway, after the apple picking, I was given a bag full of apples to take home – talk about ironic. Since I don’t eat raw apples, I decided that I was going to make myself an Apple Crisp so I began to peel the apples. It took me at least 20 minutes to peel 4 or 5 apples. I had to set the apples down every time that I would touch the peeled apple parts. What was worse is that when it came time to have to cut the apples, I couldn’t. I hated it so much I had to ask my partner to cut the apples while I went as far away as possible from the sound. I know, I am bat$hit crazy. But the point is that I still did more with apples than I had in a long time. Every now and then I do try to eat a piece of raw apple because I acknowledge that my raw apple problem is completely insane.

So what is the point of that story; well, I guess to teach you that sometimes you need to do something that scares you or that you are worried to do in order to get ahead. If you never try, you’re never going to learn what you need to do to succeed. When I bought those apples, I felt good that I had done something that I would never normally do and I faced my (completely stupid) loathing of raw apples head on. Thank you (and Happy Birthday) Katie for getting me to do something that I wouldn’t normally do and pushing me outside my comfort zone.

As I was saying earlier, the challenge is going very well. I have been maintaining my no eating out goal and making delicious meals for myself. Today I am going to try making Chicken Vindaloo, again, thank you for giving me a great recipe that uses things I already have in my cupboards! I think I’ll start posting links to the recipes I love for you guys to try. I’m not going to turn this into another cooking blog though! This challenge has added in an extra element of exposure for me too. I got to open up and share this process with a number of new people doing the 30-day challenge and the reception to my blog is always heartwarming! I plan to do a weekly Wednesday updates on the challenge so that you can see how I have progressed!

In other news, I bought this beautiful print by local artist StephenFrew for only $10 at an art show/concert yesterday! I want to buy the original giant paiting, but I am on this budget so I think I will have to wait a bit before I buy any artwork for the apartment. What was even better was that I got to check out my friend’s new band called Bearshark! What a great name for a band.  The crappy news though is that I am going back to French classes starting on October 11, so I think that I will be extra challenged to do the yoga and cooking that week! It’s so hard to stay in the same room with one person for 3 hours 3 days a week! Oh well, eff it!

See you Wednesday! 

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